Virginia Tech Dining Services has received its first Governor's Environmental Excellence award, a bronze rating, for its sustainability efforts on campus.

As Virginia Tech continues to strengthen its national reputation for outstanding dining, Dining Services continues to work to stay at the leading edge of foodservice trends. In recent years, the department has focused building a stronger sustainable food system at the university. 

“This award recognizes our efforts to create sustainable dining options through collaborations on campus," said Rial Tombes, sustainability coordinator for dining services. 

The Farms and Fields Project in Owens Food Court is the gold standard for sustainable dining at Virginia Tech. This shop offers sustainable, organic, and local options throughout the school year. 

Dining Services has also partnered with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to bring milk from the Virginia Tech Dairy, meat from the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences meat lab, and produce from the research facility at Kentland Farm into dining facilities.

In addition to providing fresh, local food, dining services has worked hard to ensure customers are educated about sustainable disposal of waste. Two new programs established this year, the Reusable To-Go Container program and Sit ‘n Sort, have acted as the first step toward offering more environmentally friendly to-go options in dining facilities and helped customers effectively sort trash.

The sustainable dining program offers the campus community an opportunity to have a conversation about the importance of sustainability on campus and beyond. 

“We're using the mission of a land grant institution to create sustainable dining solutions for the future,” said Tombes. 

Moving forward, Dining Services hopes to continue engaging students in sustainable dining programs to further promote a culture of sustainability on campus.

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Environment Virginia Symposium, an event that recognizes achievement in environmental programs, environmental projects, land-conservation programs, or land-conservation projects in Virginia.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Drew Knapp
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